As I enter into my last year of university, I’ve realised that there are some things I wish I knew about being a freshman or first-year student before I had started my degree. They’re not necessarily mind altering pieces of advice, just little things I wish I’d been more aware of before starting my very first semester. I thought I’d share them all with you too, in the hopes that they help someone, someday.
- You may officially be an adult but you certainly won’t feel like it. It’s okay not to feel like you’ve got life under control just yet. If truth be told, you probably won’t ever have it all together and that’s okay. We’re all just winging it anyways.
- Taking a break for your own sanity is okay. You don’t need to justify it. You don’t need to push through hoping you’ll get over it. Take the time off and you’ll be okay.
- Don’t pull all-nighters. They’re not worth it and you’ll never remember anything anyways. Study before you go to sleep and then wake up a little bit earlier than normal to do some more. You still might not remember anything but at least you’ll be coherent enough to push through the exam.
- Check blackboard, LMS or whatever other system your school uses for organising your classes and work. Sometimes important information won’t be told to you through email or in class. It’s almost always on your schools class management system. Learn to check it religiously. It will be your saving grace.
- Go out, have fun and party but stick with a friend. Watch your drinks. Be the sober friend once in a while. Make sure you know the signs of a spiked drink. Don’t feel pressured to drink if you don’t want to.
- Drop a class you hate before the cut off date. Don’t pay for a class you’ll fail only to have to take another to make up the credit points. Drop it before there’s a penalty, enroll in another and save your money.
- Buy an external hard drive. Back up all of your work. Never trust a computer to automatically save your work.
- Call home. Be honest with your family. It’ll feel good to talk to them. It’ll feel even better to get things off your chest that you can’t tell anyone else.
- Eat properly. The freshman 15 is pretty damn unavoidable but eating three proper meals a day will save you a world of sweat and gym wear.
- Don’t plagiarize. Melania Trump might get away with it but you won’t. Turn It In is a snitch and you will face academic probation or expulsion over a single sentence you copied from the internet. It’s not worth it.
- Forward your school emails to your personal email address. It’s easier than having to check multiple email accounts and you’ll never miss an important notice.
- Everyone doubts their degree/classes/life choices. Talk to others – friends, family, professors and subject coordinators. They’ll help you figure out what the next step is for you. To push through or make a change. Remember that ultimately the choice is up to you.
What are some things you wish you knew as a Freshman? Share them in the comments below, I’d love to hear them!